Drakon held up his arm eagerly, and the falcon stepped down, flaring her wings and flexing her talons to keep her balance. Daringly, Drakon lifted a hand and stroked the soft head-feathers; the falcon fixed him with a sharp eye, and he quickly stopped.
"Madame. Madame, how did you get here? What's happening to the school?"
Just a little nervous, as she never was, the falcon preened at her wing-feathers. "It is...a long story. Have you time? There is...much you must know."
"Of course, Madame. Uh..." the boy glanced back at the bears, who stared back with glittering eyes. "Of course we have time."
The falcon hopped off his wrist and became Madame da Silva, seating herself neatly on a fallen log.
"Sit, Drakon. Listen."
Obedient as he rarely was, Drakon sat beside her and listened.
He listened to what had happened to the school, and what had happened to Healer Quant and to Steiffa, and he nearly got up to run to their rescue-to one person's rescue-right at that moment; but Nyssa da Silva put her hand on his arm and pulled him back down.
And then he listened to what was the most difficult to say, and something he thought he would never hear, not from anyone other than the woman who had brought him up.
"Drakon. I am...I am your mother."
Urska rumbled, a self-satisfied rumble for knowing what the boy-cub hadn't, and indeed seemed so very very shocked to find out, although if he had not had such a useless nose he would have known from the start. Humans were complicated things indeed.
"My...mother? My mother?" Drakon said repeatedly, almost unable to believe it. "My mother?"
"Yes. I am afraid...you are not quite the legitimate prince you were raised to believe. But that does not mean you are any less deserving. I...I just wished you to know the truth."
Drakon stared at his hands, trying to absorb this. It explained many things, but, still...everything he seemed to know about himself had just been turned upside-down.
There was an awkward silence, and then Nyssa da Silva stood up and clapped her hands, once again the teacher, the Assessor. Drakon grasped this reality with some relief, setting aside the difficult questions until he had time to think.
"We must decide what to do," Madame da Silva declared. "There are so many who need our help."
"I'll rescue Steiffa!" Drakon volunteered, just the slightest bit too fast. Urska grunted angrily; she would not let the boy leave! Not until he had made her her again. She concentrated, and felt her bulk furry body slim down and become bald, and then Urska the girl was there again, scowling.
"Boy cannot leave," she declared. "Must make me me again. Undo magic!"
Reminded of his obligations, Drakon blushed and jumped up. "I am sorry, Urska. Of course I'll make you you again. But...I must rescue Steiffa also..."
Urska wrinkled her nose and put her puny human fists on her hips. "Steiffa your mate?"
The young human looked confused, blushing like the sun coming up. "Uh, no. Um. No. No..."
Curious at to the reason for this uncertainty, Urska looked across at Madame da Silva, who was trying not to laugh.
"Never mind," she said, with some amusement. "Drakon, where is Borysko? I think...he may be useful, in the future..."